Republicans wary of Obama’s public health care summit

Republicans have said all along they want the health care  debate out in the open and criticized President Barack Obama for holding discussions behind closed doors.

So Obama proposes a televised summit with Democrats and Republicans and now the GOP says it’s not too sure that’s such a good idea.

Republicans have issued a list of “pre-conditions” and — if they don’t get what they want — they might not show up.

Some feel Obama and the Democrats are laying a trap and they say they’re not going to walk into it.

“This is a clever tactic by the president to try to put the Republicans on the defensive,” said John Feehery, GOP consultant and former congressional aide, told The Associated Press.

Feehery says the move by Obama is more “style than substance.”

Other Republicans say Democrats have lost momentum on health care and they might stay away to help kill existing health care legislation.

Writes GOP leader John Boehner  and Whip Eric Cantor in a letter to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel:

Assuming the president is sincere about moving forward on health care in a bipartisan way, does that mean he will agree to start over?

Republicans want Obama to rule out “budget reconciliation” rules that Democrats to enact some health care provisions with a simple Senate majority, not the 60-vote super majority needed to halt filibusters. With the loss of the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Democrats now have 59 — not 60 — of the Senate’s 100 seats.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to the letter, saying Obama is “open to including any good ideas that stand up to objective scrutiny.”

But White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said the president will not rule out reconciliation.


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